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Am J Gastroenterol. 2013 May;108(5):778-85. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2013.95. Epub 2013 Apr 2.

The Western dietary pattern is prospectively associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in adolescence.

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  • 1Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.



Poor dietary habits have been implicated in the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD); however, little is known about the role of specific dietary patterns in the development of NAFLD. We examined prospective associations between dietary patterns and NAFLD in a population-based cohort of adolescents.


Participants in the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study completed a food frequency questionnaire at 14 years and had liver ultrasound at 17 years (n=995). Healthy and Western dietary patterns were identified using factor analysis and all participants received a z-score for these patterns. Prospective associations between the dietary pattern scores and risk of NAFLD were analyzed using multiple logistic regression.


NAFLD was present in 15.2% of adolescents. A higher Western dietary pattern score at 14 years was associated with a greater risk of NAFLD at 17 years (odds ratio (OR) 1.59; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.17-2.14; P<0.005), although these associations were no longer significant after adjusting for body mass index at 14 years. However, a healthy dietary pattern at 14 years appeared protective against NAFLD at 17 years in centrally obese adolescents (OR 0.63; 95% CI 0.41-0.96; P=0.033), whereas a Western dietary pattern was associated with an increased risk of NAFLD.


A Western dietary pattern at 14 years in a general population sample was associated with an increased risk of NAFLD at 17 years, particularly in obese adolescents. In centrally obese adolescents with NAFLD, a healthy dietary pattern may be protective, whereas a Western dietary pattern may increase the risk.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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